Your top ten memories of the year were pretty Caps-centric. What were your favorite memories that didn't involve the Caps?Great question Aaron! And to answer it, we're going back to the top 10 standard!
10. Phil Kessel to media: "Have you seen my baseball?" Phil Kessel lost a testicle to testicular cancer. While it is great that he was able to over come it and have a solid season, the fact that he is doing hunky dory means that the rest of us pundits now have a great opportunity for jokes the rest of his career until it has been thoroughly beaten into the ground.
9. Mick McGeough can't make any friends: Early in the season, Edmonton tied the game against Dallas with 5.3 seconds left. Except that Mick McGeough called a phantom hand pass on the play, and it cost the Oilers a chance at at least one point. Fast forward to March 20th, and Mick outdoes himself, costing the Blues TWO legitimate goals in a game against the Senators. On the first goal, Ray Emery appeared to catch the puck while his entire glove was inside the net. If the glove is in the net, and the puck is in the glove, shouldn't it follow that the puck was in the net? On the second one, the puck was clearly in the net, and Mick McGeough waives it off. At first claiming there was another phantom hand pass, then changing it, saying that he had blown the whistle. Take your pick. It was a good night to be a Senators fan.
8. Peter Bondra gets his 500th goal. I've said plenty of bad things about Bonzai in this space, and most of my anger is actually directed at his agent. That said, this was incredibly nice to see.
7. The Anaheim Ducks get off to a big start. Teams get off to hot starts every year. The success of the Ducks start is that it enabled them to fight a lot of people. And no one on the not-so-mighty-Ducks fought more than Gallagher.
6. While the Ducks were riding high in the West, the Flyers were doing the same thing in the Eastern conference. Except that they were sucking, long and hard. In what came to many as a surprise, the Flyers inability to master any of the fundamental principals of successful hockey ensured them that no matter how much they improved throughout the year, they would still win priority placement in the draft lottery.
5. And why were the Flyers doing so poorly? Well, superstar Peter Forsberg had a mysterious ankle injury. So mysterious, that doctors could find NOTHING wrong with it. So with just a pair of games left, Forsberg has still only played 55 points, while the Flyers failed to win a single game without Forsberg in the lineup. That didn't stop Nashville from dramatically overpaying for him in February, oh no siree Bob!
4. Warm up the bandwagon, here comes the Sabres! Sabres fans have been out in force this year, proclaiming their team the greatest ever, despite the fact that the team has never won anything in anything, nor are they even first in the league this season. But hey, let's not let logic get in the way of a good bandwagon. Just wear your Pat LaFontaine jersey proudly to any Sabres game so half the stadium can ask "Who the heck is that guy?"
3. Suspending clean hits! Cam Janssen nails Tomas Kaberle with a hit that was beautifully legal, if not for the fact that it was slightly late. Toronto fans through a collective hissy fit, and Cam Janssen gets a game for every half a second after the puck was let go before the hit was made. A few weeks later, Jordan Tootoo cleans Mike Modano's clock with a beautiful hit, and turns around just in time to see Stephane Robidas trying to kill him. So Tootoo defends himself, only to have Modano with a two handed back slash across the back. Somehow, Tootoo is suspended for defending himself against a guy trying to kill him with a high hit. The message from the league is clear. Hockey is no longer a contact sport.
2. My Baby, she wrote me a letter. So what brought all that cracking down on hits on? A legal hit that incited a brawl when Chris McNeil of the Ottawa Senators concussed Chris Drury with a beautifully legal hit. All hell breaks loose in a brawl, and the Sabres are still whining about it. If you don't want to get a concussion, Chris Drury, maybe you should fasten your helmet next time? Buffalo responded with their usual class, sending Peters to fight the Senators goalie, and Tom Golisano, the owner of the Sabres, wrote a letter complaining to the league about how unfair it is to have people actually hitting in the league, claiming that no player in the league should be allowed to hit a smaller player, and you shouldn't be allowed to hit a player if he isn't looking at you. Apparently Golisano didn't watch what his own team did in the playoffs the previous season. For all his trouble, Golisano made his team look like a bunch of babies, and we all laughed at the Sabres a little more.
1. Jaromir Jagr: Captain. Seriously. Who the heck in New York thought this was a good idea, naming Jagr captain? A player that had TURNED DOWN one of the biggest honors a hockey player can have on each of his previous teams, finally is persuaded to accept the Captaincy in New York. What follows is a season of whining about not getting calls, refusing to participate in game deciding shootouts, and being upstaged as a team leader by teammate Brendan Shannahan. It culminated in New York trying to unload Jagr at the deadline, but not having any success despite the fact that Washington is still paying a large sum of Jagr's contract. I'm well aware of the dangers of schadenfreude, but in this case I don't care. Have fun with him New York, you deserve him.
That wraps up a rather long edition of "Ask FS!" If you have a question that you'd like to see appear in a future edition of "Ask FS!" simply leave it in the comments section below, or send me an email via the link provided in the profile. Until next time, "Let's Go Caps!"